Thursday, September 01, 2005


People are crying out for help from the federal government because local and state government failed the people of New Orleans

The images from the entire stricken Gulf Coast is heart wrenching but the humanitarian crisis developing in New Orleans is particularly shocking to all Americans. The thought that fellow Americans are stuck without any help and guidance in the midst of rising flood waters is ditressing for all of us to see.

Ordinarily, the federal government provides a support mechanism for local authorities and complements them in getting things done during times of crisis. However, no one has seen the local government take any sort of control over the worsening situation in New Orleans.

People are crying out for the federal government to help New Orleans because the local leadership has failed. Where was the planning for potential disaster of the city's levees failing? It wasn't the hurricane that destroyed New Orleans but the subsequent breaching of the levees. The city was primarily structurally intact but the rising waters drowned the city.

It does not seem that Mayor Nagin of New Orleans and Governor Blanco of Louisiana implemented any plan for the collapse of the levees, in fact it does not seem that there was any plan at all. New York City's police department trains over and over for potential disasters from debilitating snowstorms to terror attacks. The perception being created is that New Orleans police were unprepared on how to react to city-wide chaos because they never trained for such a catastrophic event.

The worst aspect is how the poor people were left behind to fend for themselves in the rising flood waters. How come only people who had automobiles were able to leave the city? Why weren't city buses used to take poor people out of New Orleans. The answer lies in an article from 2002 that predicts the widespread disaster to befall on New Orleans should a hurricane strike. Slate Magazine's Jack Shafer discovered an article from the New Orleans Times-Picayune that said that the city determined there were not enough city-owned buses (only 50 each with a capacity of 40 passengers) and therefore evacuating them would be impossible. Well, why didn't the city have a standing contract with bus companies, like Greyhound and Peter Pan, to use large amounts of huge buses when an evacuation order was made?

It's a shame that the local government in New Orleans and Baton Rouge was caught flat-footed by Hurricane Katrina. The result of poor planning and inattention to the poorest members of the city is why the federal government is being summoned to as much as it can to save the thousands of people who are fighting for their lives.

Slate Magazine: Lost in the Flood - Why no mention of race or class in TV's Katrina coverage? By Jack Shafer

New Orleans Times-Picayune: Washing Away

Update, other blogs: Mudville Gazette, Blogs for Bush, Q and O, Right Wing News, Captains Quarters, Davids Medienkritik, Michelle Malkin, Backcountry Conservative, Outside the Beltway, BitsBlog, Bad Hair Blog, Dummocrats, Wizbang, and PoliBlogger.


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